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Greek Historian - Herodotus

Updated on November 1, 2009

Herodotus was a Greek historian. Born Halicarnassus, Asia Minor (now Bodrum, Turkey), about 484 B.C.

Herodotus is known as the father of history. He traveled extensively in Asia Minor, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, and other countries of the ancient world. He carefully observed the customs and learned the traditions of the peoples he visited, and he read widely. About 443 B.C., with this wealth of background information, Herodotus settled at Thurii, an Athenian colony in southern Italy, and there wrote most of his monumental History. He chose as his subject the conflicts between the Greeks and the Persians. His study is the only contemporary record of this important historical period, and it is also the first known creative work to be written in prose.

Herodotus' History was later divided into nine books. The first six form a comprehensive introduction to the theme of the work and acquaint the reader with the past histories of the Greeks and Persians, including Darius' expedition that ended at Marathon. They include frequent flashes of humor and many charming digressions on miscellaneous information about strange lands and customs. He tells many stories, some of which are not intended to be factual, simply because they make good reading. The final three books of the History give a thrilling account of the perils of Greece and its triumph over the Persians, from the of Xerxes to the battles of Salamis and Platea. Throughout the work, Herodotus displays an ease and simplicity rarely equaled by later historians. If he wrote other works, they have been lost.

Herodotus died in Thurii, southern Italy, in about 425 B.C.


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